I talk to my oldest about not letting it get to her, what other girls say. How they can be so cruel. Leave her out. Throw carefully worded barbs her way. I tell her it doesn’t matter. But it does. Words can hurt. And deep […]
Month: January 2014
She found me after church and thanked me for being honest, for being real. We had shared supper a couple of nights ago, our husbands in tow. But it’s always after the meal is cleared, that the real soul food is shared. When we bare our […]
It can feel heavy, the way the world settles over us like a cloak. How it weighs our shoulders down and makes our necks tight. The way we wear it. How we cling to the burden.
My friend, she’s at her mama’s bedside. She sits and waits. They talk, and they share stories, smiles, and laughter. But there are moments when the knowledge of the minutes racing past slice right through her, sharp and cutting. She prays for moments of clarity so she can have her mom fully present every possible second.
And he called the other day not sure how to help his hurting wife. Words pleading for wisdom. For help. For answers to reach inside and draw her out. Helpless. Hurting. Anger sparking as he feels alone and like he’s losing her a little more every day.
The prayer requests for marriage? They’re coming in fast. Because in a world that’s hard and hurting, it’s easy to draw into yourself. In a world that says please yourself, look out for yourself, it’s hard to work tirelessly for someone else who doesn’t seem to respond. It’s hard to reach across the table and take hold of the hand belonging to a person who’s hurt you, disappointed you. And the movies and books tell how it’s supposed to be magic. When sometimes the only magic is holding on when it’d be easier to just. let. go.
Sometimes the hardest thing, the thing that weighs you down the most is staring into the mirror and not looking away. Facing how you’ve disappointed others, disappointed yourself. How you’ve not measured up, always falling short.
The bills. The laundry. The dishes. They all just pile up. Pile up like the mountains of despair and heartache and hopelessness when you turn on the television, pick up the phone, scroll through your Facebook newsfeed. And you feel lost, navigating life around these mountains.
And so I pick up another book to read – and I don’t get past the forward because her words stop me in my tracks.
“It was as if I carried around a little heart-shaped cup and held it out to whatever or whomever I perceived might fill it. I presented the cup to my education: ‘Will you fill me?’ I offered it to my husband: ‘Will you fill me?’ I held it out to my child: ‘Will you fill me?’ I extended it to my material possessions: ‘Will you fill me?’ I presented it to each of my jobs: ‘Will you fill me?’ Within this question were many more entanglements: ‘Will you right all my wrongs?’ ‘Will you fill up my insecurities?’ The more I offered my emptiness, hoping something could fill it, the more inadequate I felt.” (Lysa TerKeurst, forward in Renee Swope’s A Confident Heart)
Oh, how clearly I saw myself in these lines penned by another. How I see myself in my head…as this little girl wandering up to people and asking “Will you love me?”
This picture might make you smile but the truth of it lodges painfully deep. And it isn’t funny when you feel empty and depleted when you’re surrounded by so much that ‘should’ fill you up.
But what is that truth, the one that resounds when I open the ultimate love letter to man? I turn the pages to Matthew 11:28 and read life-giving words.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Jesus tells me in no uncertain wording that He wants to take my heavy burden. That ill-fitting cloak, suffocating and heavy. He wants me to trade it in. He wants to give me rest – and an easy yoke and light burden.
Sometimes? Sometimes, I have to give Him my burden over and over and over. I lay it down, and then go back and pick up the heavy burden like it’s my job. I tell Him waiting on Him is too hard. When what I’m really saying is, “I want my burden back. I don’t trust yours. I don’t trust you.” And so I breathe deep and lay my burden back at His feet. And take His easy yoke.
And sometimes easy is a relative term. Sometimes easy means crying in the shower until your tears are spent and your sobs fall silent. Sometimes easy means feeling a pain so deep inside you that you feel like your heart, your middle might actually split in two. Sometimes easy means feeling a helplessness that comes from waiting on Someone’s timetable that’s not your own.
But in the light burden He gives you in exchange for your heavy one? If you open that knapsack up and peer down in, you see hope. Hope that tells you the struggle is worth it. Hope that tells you He sees. He knows. And He is just and will. bring. you. victory.
Hagar knew that hope.
In Genesis we see her when she’s cast away by her master, Sarah – and by Abraham, the father of her son. Cast away by the very woman who created the whole problem to begin with. We read about how she must leave and go away. How she eventually lays her son down and prepares for death. Alone. Tired. Weary. To the bone.
Then God trades her burden. He gives her and her son water to satisfy their earthly needs – and He wants to be the Living Water for every one of their needs. For every one of our needs.
And she should’ve known that. Because once before she’d run from Sarah and the burden she placed upon her. And God had met her there too. And in wonder she’d called Him “The God Who Sees Me.”
But sometimes we forget. We forget that He sees us.
That’s where our burden becomes lighter. Because we sit in the earnest trust that our God is a God who sees us. So as we navigate around piles of bills and laundry and dishes. As we detour through places of devastation and despair, death and illness. As we make this journey, blindly, He sees where we are going. And He tells us soft and sure:
Be still. Just breathe. Read My words. Recollect how I’ve delivered you before. Trust Me to do so again, in My time and My way. Hand me your burden.
And so we say to the mother losing her child, to the daughter losing her mother, to the husband who feels like he’s losing his wife, to the wife who feels like she never really knew her husband. We say to them, let me carry a little of your burden. But most of all, let me help you to the One who will take your burden and find you rest.
So she’s resolved to be better, do better, love better this next year. A whole calendar full of empty squares. But the thought makes her tired. She has so much to accomplish, so much to change. And she’s tired, looking in the mirror knowing only […]